Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Mini's Personal Message, GM's Quality Ad, and Rolls Big Price


I come back from a week on the slopes of Colorado and find three tidbits about the automakers that show even in the bitter cold and dreary days of January (except in the Rockies) ... there are some interesting stories.

(1) Mini's Message

Today in Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and New York, Mini will unveil billboards that give Mini drivers personalized messages.  Mini owners who go on-line and fill out a questionnaire will get a key fob sent to them with an RFID chip. Then, when that chip comes within 500 feet of a Mini billboard,  a personalized message will pop up like, "Keep on motoring Scott!". In theory it sounds cool, and will likely make the Mini billboards stand out.  I can already hear safety advocates calling the billboards a distraction, and they might be right. Still, give Mini credit for trying a new way to make it's brand stand out in an increasingly crowded auto market.

(2) GM's quality Super Bowl ads

General Motors says one of the ads it runs on Super Bowl Sunday will feature a robot in one of it's plants and focuses on the company's push for quality. I've yet to see the ad, and it may blow me away, but regardless of how it does, GM is trying a different approach. Ads stressing the quality of a car or truck, in general, are snoozers.  Maybe this one from GM will be different. Most of the country will be watching.

(3) Rolls Most Expensive Sale

Talk about dropping jaws with the new Drophead Coupe. Rolls-Royce auctioned off one of the first editions of it's new Phantom Drophead Coupe at a wine festival in Naples, Florida last weekend.  The price tag:  $2 million. Considering the new Drophead sells for $407,000, the auction raised roughly $1.6 million for charity. And according to Rolls, it is the highest price ever paid for a new production car in the U.S.  Not a bad way to make a splash with a new model.

Questions?  Comments?